Pop quiz: You're a dad and your 5-year-old son has a penchant for wearing women's clothing -- dresses and skirts and such. You A) gently and subtly try to talk him out of wearing these things, perhaps presenting him with a shiny new Transformers t-shirt; B) ignore the predilection, hoping it's a passing phase; C) tell your son he can wear whatever he wishes, no matter to you; or D) shimmy into a skirt yourself in a show of solidarity and proudly walk around town with your son?
If you're one of the coolest dads ever, the answer is D.
Nils Pickert and his 5-year-old boy live in a "very traditional" South German village, where his son's clothing choices are so unconventional that they actually made a resident walk face-first into a street light once. His son likes to wear skirts. And dresses. And, sadly, he has trouble making friends because of this -- and even more depressing, the little boy was scared to venture out in his favorite attire out of fear he'd get laughed at (which is what has happened in the past). So his father, not wanting to discourage his boy from wearing what he wants, now wears dresses, too.
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Pickert told the German magazine, EMMA: "I didn't want to talk my son into not wearing dresses and skirts. He didn't make friends in doing that in Berlin already, and after a lot of contemplation, I had only one option left: To broaden my shoulders for my little buddy and dress in a skirt myself."
Because of his dad, Pickert's son now feels more comfortable dressing how he wants to. Pickert continued: "The day [after I wore a skirt] he fished out a dress from the depth of his wardrobe. At first only for the weekend. Later also for nursery-school." Naturally, some kids still want to make fun of the little guy, but, miraculously, it doesn't bother him anymore. Pickert stated: "He's simply smiling, when other boys (and it's nearly always boys) want to make fun of him and says: 'You only don't dare to wear skirts and dresses because your dads don't dare to either.'"
Wherever one lies on the political spectrum, I think it's nearly impossible not to be moved by this story. At the very core, it's a story of a father doing everything in his power to make his child feel safe and loved and completely "normal." Every parent fears the day that their child feels hurt or unwelcome or sad, because sometimes, there's really nothing that can be done to take away the pain.
But other times, we can throw on a dress and, hopefully, make everything okay. Nils, you and your son are an inspiration to all.
Isn't this dad fantastic?
Image via annethelibrarian/Flickr